May 31, 2011

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Been at it for a very long time… didn't find it too fascinating in between… then it again became very gripping… and finally ending on a demure note for me. 

Shantaram was a book recommended to me by many, and I was also warned that I should set myself to read the first few chapters before deciding on its fate. I was already aware of the plot, as it was the centre of many heated discussions when it was first published, but the depth to which each act was played out, made it a great but at times stretched read too. Many a times I found myself reading it with the speed and pleasure which I usually reserve for fiction, and hence forgetting that I was in fact reading a man's life, and not a fabricated story! I also feel that it is not a book which I will pick up again for a second read, as there is a suspense which has been woven into the plot, and hence once completed, it would be difficult for me o re-read it. 

The writing style was very much like a fast paced thriller, with thoughts, dialogues and scenes strewn across the pages. This might also be a factor in contributing to the extremely strong feeling of a fiction, rather than a true life based story. There are some sections on philosophy, universe, human beings and these have been at times, I felt, overdone. I did lose interest in these paragraphs over a period of time.

I would like to add that, as a personal preference, I enjoyed the parts where the protagonist was in Bombay as compared to his short stints in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I am not a Bombay-ite, and have been to Bombay very sparingly, so it was not my love for Bombay which made me enjoy these parts more… but maybe the India which was seen from the foreigner;s eye and his acceptance of the Indian-ness of many actions was something I could relate to more than his experiences outside Bombay. I will not say that his adventures outside Bombay are less interesting, but I believe the ones within proved to be more to my liking. I already did mention that the ending was not something which was very exciting for me. I agree that it is a true story, and cannot be made interesting, if it was not so in real life. But, I felt that he could have given a more rounded ending to the characters, whereas I did feel the ending was somehow abrupt and there was certainly more that I would have wanted to know. 

It is certainly a book I would recommend book lovers to get their hands on, though it might take some time to progress in the first few chapters. 

May 27, 2011

Food Cravings - Then and Now

This is a post which was lying in my draft and I decided this is certainly something I would like to post ! 

This is about my food cravings during pregnancy... they weren't many, but nevertheless there were somethings which did catch my fancy. Now what I do know is that these cravings are not so intense... but given a chance, I still love these food items the most. I guess what you have eaten as a kid, and what you fancied the most is what surfaces when you are pregnant. Just a thought. 

 A frequent question which I have been asked in the past few months is what have been my cravings in terms of food. And till recently I have not really seen any pattern in my food likes. I like to eat a variety of things, and if something is served to me regularly, then I am bound to lose interest. But, that said, there are two food items which have topped my list of frequent eats. One is Puttu and Kadala ( a traditional Kerala breakfast item) and Jackfruit chips.
Jackfruit chips has been my childhood favorite, and it being available in plenty in Kerala when my mom, brother and I came for summer vacations made it almost my staple in between meal snack. My grandmother's house had a huge jackfruit tree in the backyard, and she used to watch and get a good one cut a week prior to our arrival and painstakingly clean it, slice and fry it. The fried items would be carefully packed away in airtight containers and kept out of anyone's reach till we arrive. My grandmother is no more, but whenever I eat jackfruit chips, these are the only thoughts which cross my mind.
Puttu and Kadala is traditionally steamed rice cakes served with chick peas, and here also the black variety is the one which is used commonly. As for me, I love puttu which can be prepared using a wide variety of grains like, rice, wheat, corn, ragi, and amongst them my favorite is the ragi puttu. It comes out a dark brown colored steamed cake with a top of grated coconut and  the smell is divine. In the past few months, I have prepared this I believe so many times as compared to the whole of last year. In fact I would say that B has had even an overdose of Puttu and Kadala :) 
Apart from these things, I had a recent craving for pesto pasta, but that has not worked out since I am in Trivandrum, and nothing here even remotely resembling a pesto sauce was available. I finally settled on spaghetti as that was what was available to me.. and that too I had to make myself, as restaurants had a very funny way of preparing it with a 'local touch', to enhance the flavor, as they say! 
So all in all, I do not think I had any particular intense cravings through my pregnancy if you take away the above two. I know some friends who used to have dreams about foods they want, and those would be prepared the next day at home! Nothing like that seems to dominate my dreams though…. 
What are the most interesting pregnancy food cravings you've come across??
But now, after Trisha is here, I am not allowed chickpeas or jackfruit, as it might upset her stomach. So there.. my favourite things are denied to me for sometime now.

May 26, 2011

A few days along

When I was pregnant, I wondered whether I would be a good mom… whether I would do things right and most importantly whether I would have that maternal instinct in me

Now that I can say from experience of a few days… I strongly believe that the mother in me was born after a few days Trisha came. I do not know whether it was just looking at her, or was it the peace and quiet with which she used to settle in my arms. Initially I could not even get myself to hold her out of sheer fear that I possibly can not handle such a delicate thing. Equally heart wrenching is when she cries… shrieks I should say.. or the soft cries in her sleep. And that is when I knew that I was also a mother. I remember reading on my file from Fortis (Nest) which said… "Where mothers are born" and now I see how apt a statement that is..with every baby, a mother is also born!

Now that I have started to understand Trisha and what she wants… or what she intends to do… it feels very nice and better from the position of complete helplessness when I had no clue why she would be crying or what are the some things that she likes. Now I have a list of things which I know she would normally want, and trying all of them have become a quick routine in case of a shrieking cry. Her usual cries are for a feed, a wet nappy, or at times she just wants to be cradled. And while we are at the cradling bit, she seems to know when I am sitting or walking too, and here also depending on her mood, she has her preferences! 

Also.. like many a times before.. I am again having the shift to wordpress bug, and this time lets see what happens!

May 20, 2011

A start

A new entrant in your life has the ability to change many things and also resulting in a reshuffling of priorities… 

Its been 12 days since my world has been changes forever and initially though I did not feel anything much about it, but now I see the various changes which are creeping into me. 

I thought I would get my sound sleep back post delivery, but now I don't really want my sound sleep, in case I do not hear her… 

I thought I would have more freedom to do what I want with no restrictions… but now I realize the time is a bigger factor !

I thought I would not be able to spend a day without talking to B, but now such a day has passed, though I know within me I was very uneasy and sad that whole night.

I never thought I would be able to spend days within a room and not even realize it…

I could not imagine myself getting a baby to sleep… as usually kids do not like my stiff, scared way of holding them… but that has certainly changed in a week.

I truly know what is the meaning of ' baby soft' :) 

Potty and pee makes no difference to me now… 

So many things in 12 days.. I wonder what beholds in the years to come… 

May 3, 2011

Here now..

So, the bags are packed. You ask why so late? well… we ( my mom and me) were just too lazy to get on with the work. We had all the stuff that was needed all piled neatly onto a shelf inside the cupboard, but not packed into a bag. Now, that too has been done. In fact I remember, Babycenter asked me to pack the bag and keep ready as early as 32 weeks, but then I just never did that. Don't ask me why, maybe I thought I would not know what to pack myself, or else because I thought the requirements might be very different if I had happened to deliver way earlier. But now as the time draws close, I see this as something I do not want to leave out, or don't want people to be running around getting the requisite items. 

As I have noticed in the past week, I have been at a alternate day aches and pains routine. I do not know whether it holds any medical importance, but thats something which has been happening all through this week. The days of the aches and pains do end up being quite tiring too, and all I want to do is lie down on the bed. Lying on the bed is also a huge problem now. I turn to my right, then there is some amount of discomfort on the back, and if I turn and lie on my left side, then there is a distinctive lower abdominal pain. Now, that leaves with lying on my back, which is anyways never advised, as it causes all the weight to be pushed onto the spine, the nerves and the veins, which will cause further discomfort in the long run. This has made me think that maybe the baby really doesn't want me to lie down… maybe he/she wants me to walk about, climb up and down stairs or maybe just sit still. 

This week is ideally my last week ending at my due date, and its yet to be seen what will be situation by then. The doc has just asked me to keep a track of baby movements and then wait patiently for my body to decide whats the best. Post the due date we will see what is to be done… maybe wait for a few days more or induce… depending on the situation then. Things are kind of slow now, but then its more like  a calm now and then the whirlwind of activities which will start is something I am yet to prepare myself for. 

Day 69 - Palms